Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: Pinar del Rio 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Madura Robusto

24 May 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This Pinar del Rio cigar boasts a three-country blend (Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, Dominican Criollo binder, and Criollo filler from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua), a pigtail cap, and a low price tag. I found the Robusto (5 x 52), which had been in my humidor for quite a while, to have many of the typical maduro (but, yes, they use madura) flavors like coffee and cocoa. But they were marred by a harshness that kept any from shining. Good construction and performance couldn’t overcome the negatives.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Gran Habano Cabinet Selection Robusto

17 May 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I found this cigar deep in my humidor and have no idea when or where I got it. An internet check appears to show that the line is no longer in production, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few remain on retailers’ shelves. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with a light brown Corojo wrapper in a mild press. It started with an earthiness that soon gives way to a medicinal/mineral taste that’s not particularly pleasant. Strength was medium at most, and there was little of the pepper and spice typical of so much Nicaraguan tobacco. The draw and smoke production were fine, but the burn required several touch-ups. Not one to seek out.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: E.P. Carrillo Encore Valientes

3 May 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This was the first Encore I’ve seen since the robusto-sized Majestic was named Cigar Aficionado’s top cigar of 2018, thus creating a shelf-clearing demand. I hope it won’t be my last. It’s an excellent smoke. The Valientes is a 6.125-inch torpedo with a ring gauge of 52. It is dark, rich, and robust, a treat from first puff to finish. The flavors are balanced and smooth, with one surprise, given that it is a Nicaraguan puro: There’s little of the pepper that’s often common to those tobaccos. Another point worth noting is that the Encore line follows Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s tradition of producing top-flight cigars without sky-high prices. I paid $12.25 for the Valientes. And while the four-vitola line follows La Historia in what’s called the Perez-Carrillo Series, the cigar itself is second to none.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: E.P. Carrillo

Cigar Review: Villiger La Meridiana Toro

29 Apr 2019

Long a major player in the machine-made cigar market, Villiger has for some time worked to raise its profile in the hand-made segment of the industry. For the all-important U.S. customer base, the Swiss company has introduced new cigars and brought some over from Europe.

That’s where La Meridiana comes in. Released in Europe about 20 years ago, the Nicaraguan puro was recently introduced in the United States, albeit with some differences in the sizes.

The U.S. line features five vitolas: Corona (5.5 x 42, $6.50), Robusto (5 x 50, $7.50), Torpedo (6 x 52, $8), Churchill (6.9 x 48, $8.50), and a box-pressed Toro (6 x 54, $10.60). All come in 10-count boxes.

They are rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua, at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. The cigar name itself also celebrates a factory, though it’s a Cuban one that ceased rolling operations years ago.

The wrapper is a smooth, darker brown leaf, highlighted by the prominent orange coloring in both the regular and the foot bands. There’s a mouth-watering pre-light aroma from the filler.

From the start, it is apparent La Meridiana is not a particularly strong cigar, despite its Nicaraguan components. But strength should never be confused with taste. La Meridiana has plenty of the latter.

It starts a little woody, then quickly adds some sweetness and mild spice. The flavors begin with excellent balance and maintain that throughout. Other flavors that crop up include a bit of citrus and some nuttiness.

All of those I smoked performed excellently. The draw was good and smoke production thick and plentiful. The white ash held firmly, and the burn was slow and even.

This cigar would seem to be one of Villiger’s best efforts yet. The prices are competitive, the medium strength makes it accessible, and the flavor profile is one that can appeal to a wide range of smokers. That earns the Villiger La Meridiana Toro four out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Galera Maduro Chaveta

26 Apr 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

From the start, there’s no question this cigar features a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. And for my palate, that means dirt, or an unpleasant, thick taste that more or less overlays everything else. I did detect some of the typical maduro flavors like coffee and chocolate trying to fight their way to the surface. The Chaveta (5 x 50) and features Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Draw and smoke production were good, and the ash held on tightly. Construction was marred slightly by a small amount of unraveling wrapper about halfway down. If you’re a San Andrés fan, this maduro is worth a try. Otherwise, though, I’d leave it on the shelf.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Diesel Hair of the Dog

15 Apr 2019

The latest Diesel cigar is a single-vitola limited edition with a price tag that belies its quality. With more and more cigars moving toward the $20 and up range, it’s a pleasant surprise to find one this large and this good for only $10.

Hair of the Dog is a lightly pressed, toro-sized (6 x 54) smoke with a smooth, golden brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around an Ecuadorian Habano binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. Sweet hay dominates the pre-light notes.

While the cigar, overall, is in the medium-strength range, it begins with a strong pepper blast reminiscent of some of Don José “Pepin” Garcia’s early smokes. That tapers off after the first few puffs.

Other flavors along the way include cashew, white pepper, toast, a bit of cinnamon and, in the final third, a little licorice.

The cigar’s performance was tops in all respects. The burn was sharp and even, the ash held tight, smoke production was voluminous, and the draw exhibited just the right amount of resistance.

One small complaint: The paper bands, sporting the distinctive lower-case “d” that identifies the brand, were glued so tightly that removing them became quite a chore.

The cigars are rolled at A.J. Fernandez’s factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The original Diesel was one of the cigars that helped Fernandez rise to prominence through its initial sales by online/catalog giant Cigars International. The line—and its availability—has been expanding. Last year, for example, saw the release of the Diesel Whiskey Row that incorporated tobacco aged in Rabbit Hole Bourbon barrels.

Hair of the Dog is a production with General Cigar (part of the same conglomerate that owns Cigars International) and that guarantees wide release, even with the limited-edition production ceiling.

The name is a bit hard to fathom. Using a phrase that commonly refers to having a day-after drink to ward off the effects of a hangover seems pretty far removed from tobacco. But in these days of odd monikers and trademark lawsuits, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by almost any cigar name.

If you see one, give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Hair of the Dog checks in at four out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E & Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Montecristo Nicaragua Series Toro

5 Apr 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Yes, this cigar is another collaboration involving the ubiquitous A.J. Fernandez and is handmade at Tabacalera A.J. Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua S.A., in Estelí. Yes, you should give it a try. Added by Altadis as a full-production line last year, the Montecristo Nicaragua Series is a puro that bears little resemblance to the brand’s other core lines. From the peppery start to earthiness, floral notes, and cedar along the way, the slow-burning Toro (6 x 54, $12.50) is a finely balanced and well-performing treat. Well worth lighting up.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys